PESHAWAR, March 24: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government maintains data of all foreigners, except Afghans, who visit the province for official and personal purposes.
The statistics, presented by home department in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Thursday, show that total 955 foreigners from 47 countries visited the province in 2009-10 and majority of them are still staying here.
Interestingly, home department claims that no Americans visited or stayed in the province including Peshawar during 2009-10 despite the fact that many US nationals are still working here. Presently, only two Americans are working in Lower Dir district and five in Mansehra district, according to the statistics.
Recently, a US national was arrested for overstay in Peshawar under 14 Foreigners Act, but he was also missing from the list of home department.
During the question-answer session of the house, PPP lawmaker Noor Sahar sought details about the foreigners, who visited and stayed in the province during the last two years.
The list of countries does not contain the data of Afghan nationals, who visit the province, giving an impression that Afghans are not considered as foreigners. Though, a large number of Afghans daily come to Pakistan, most of them to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
An official told Dawn by telephone that Pakistani Embassy in Kabul issued 300 to 350 visas to Afghans daily while the consulate in Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar, also issued different types of visas. He said that Afghans visited Pakistan for business, official activities, treatment and other purposes.
China, India, Korea, Belgium and Switzerland are on the top of the list, presented by home department. The statistics show that total 352 Chinese are staying in the province as they are working in different sectors including hydro power project in Shangla district.
A total 316 Indians visited their relatives in different districts of the province. The Koreans are also working in different projects in northern districts of the province. Many foreigners went back after their jobs were finished.
Majority of the foreigners, mostly from western countries, staying in Peshawar and other districts are working with international humanitarian organisations and United Nations bodies. An Irish has been staying in Nowshera district since 1988 and teaches in Catholic Church.
Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Barrister Ashad Abdullah informed the house that police impounded 596 vehicles as case properties across the province while 1,884 vehicles were handed over to their owners.
Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, responding to a number of queries, said that government was taking measures to control unabated smuggling of cattle heads to Afghanistan.
He said that government had asked centre to minimise export quota of cattle for Afghanistan. He added that fulfillment of meet food requirements of the province was his top priority.
He said that he also requested to reduce number of permits for the transportation of cattle heads to tribal areas. Export of cattle would be allowed only through Peshawar-Torkham Highway, he added. He said that the steps would help control prices of mutton and beef in the province.
Regarding implementation of loading/unloading tax in Bannu district, Mr Hoti said that under the Local Government Ordinance, 2001 tehsil municipal officers had been empowered to levy taxes.
He said that loading/unloading tax had also been implemented in Kohat and Lakki Marwat districts while it would also be introduced in other districts of the province.
He said that district governments should generate revenues from their own sources to fill the gape. He said that government had extended a social safety net programme for the next three years in the province.
The assembly unanimously passed resolution tabled by Zarqa Bibi of MMA asking the federal government to place ban on footages of female victims of violence. Speaker Karamatullah Khan Chagharmati adjourned the proceedings till Friday morning.